Wind of change is blow to protesters

wind turbine and statue of liberty
wind turbine and statue of liberty

AS many feared, the battle over whether or not two giant wind turbines should be built in the countryside between Lanark and Carluke has flared up again.

The developers of the proposed 400 foot high turbines at Cartland Muir have refused to accept the decision of South Lanarkshire Council in December to knock back the scheme and have lodged an appeal to the Scottish Government.

Such a move by the Clyde Valley Renewable Energy Co-operative was recently predicted in the Gazette, anti-turbine campaigners pointing to the fact that a huge test mast on the site had not been removed by the developers following the council refusal of planning permission.

Their fears that this was a sign that the developers had not given up on the £12m scheme have now become a reality.

The government is now being asked to overrule the council decision on the grounds that it was made on “inaccurate and misleading information”.

The villagers from Cartland and Kilncadzow who campaigned against the turbines, the STOP Clyde Valley Windfarm Group, are now dusting off the campaign placards and banners they put away in December and are preparing to take the fight to a new battleground in Edinburgh.

One of the STOP campaigners, Cartland resident Sandy Fleming, told the Gazette: “It appears that the wind has changed again!

“The appeal has been submitted despite the agents for the developers, Energy4All, stating to local residents that it would be `content to let this process run its course and accept whatever decision is made by the council planning committee.’

“We are disappointed but not surprised.”

He went on to describe the grounds of the appeal as “a new low” in the often fractious fight between STOP and Energy4All which raged for most of last year.

In the appeal document, it is claimed that the campaigners spread “inaccurate or misleading information about the project to the press and local people”.

“This is rich coming from an organisation which has been censured by the Advertising Standards Authority.”

This was a reference to a slap on the wrist the Authority gave to Energy4All for a claim it made in its publicity concerning the proximity of the turbines to homes.

Energy4All later described it as an honest and relatively minor mistake, and not an attempt to mislead anyone.

Sandy went on to claim that “much of the appeal itself appears to be based on sour grapes, petted lips and a good deal of finger-pointing at the consultees and council, claiming unfair treatment.”

As they stated at the time, the developers feel that a last-minute objection to the scheme from the British Airports Authority (BAA) on the grounds of possible air traffic control, radar interference was “unreasonable.”

They pointed out that the BAA had originally said it had no problem with the project but later changed its mind.

Whatever, the fight is back on and the anti-turbine campaigners are prepared to take it all the way.

Said Sandy: “We are, yet again, having to dig deep into our pockets in order to contest the grounds for the appeal.

“Despite this, we remain committed to fighting our corner, using every legal means to preserve our environment and our right to a decent quality of life.”

For its part, Energy4All has said that it felt the decision was basically flawed and, if upheld, would be a major blow to the ambition of making Scotland the world’s leading clean energy nation.